Monthly Archives: November 2009

remembrance day: musing on war and sacrifice

remembrance day has always been an ambiguous day for me. good memories : an hour in the rain under a gazillion umbrellas, proudly listening to my daughter singing a song with the girl guides at a remembrance day celebration; or a lovely morning 17 years ago when my then-boyfriend, now-husband were walking up and down the streets trying to find a place to have breakfast.

but mostly there is ambiguity. i watched the berlin wall come down on TV with my ex husband 20 years ago while on a let’s-make-it-up trip following a horrible fight. yes, the wall coming down was amazing, especially after having lived in berlin from 1980 to 1982 (and i’d like to propose pink floyd’s the wall as this year’s song in my annual tradition to suggest non-war remembrance day songs). that was only seven years before the destruction of the wall; it seemed nearly impossible then that it would ever happen. but seeing the wall fall felt as surreal as being on that trip with my ex husband. by that time, i had come to deeply distrust making up after a fight, knowing that the sweetness wouldn’t last long (three days in that case). i’m glad the end of the cold war lasted longer than my marriage, which was to end eight months later.

this surreal, ambiguous flavour has always seasoned my remembrance days. there are all these guys, and a few gals, walking around in their uniforms, wearing poppies. these poppies are pretty – really, they are – but it’s always felt like they were glorifying war. but wait, no, they aren’t. or are they? my head spins over that one every november 11.

questions that come up are: does being a soldier automatically make one complicit in the cruelties of war? if so, is that complicity the same as glorifying the killing, raping and maiming that happens in every war? what exactly are the sacrifices that a soldier makes? when someone celebrates soldiers and what they do, is it nationalism? glorification of war? gratitude? sentimentalism? hero worship? paying hommage to someone who truly deserves it? admiration?

lately, i have been thinking a bit about sacrifice, partly because of a book i am reading right now, the priority of love: christian charity and social justice, by timothy p. jackson. he proposes some instances of sacrifice as a truly sacred act, an act of love and surrender not in a masochistic sense or as something forced in oppression, but a giving of oneself in the deepest meaning of charity.

a soldier dying in the battle of metz 65 years ago – what sacrifice might that have been? what if we was protecting a fellow soldier, a brother-in-arms, a relationship that some say is as tight and binding as the one between mother and child?

i can’t get behind wars, never. maybe that’s because i was brought up in a fiercely pacifist household; even my grandfather refused to fight and opted to be a medic instead. but i can get behind one man giving his life, using his body as a shield so another may live.

thank you.

problems: holding them up to the light

why not hold our blunders, failures and defects up to the light? yes! like they are gifts. god (the universe / allah / buddha nature) will take them as gifts and transform them. there is beauty in them, in strange ways, but there is beauty.

i am reminded that sometimes the word “fault” is used to describe the thicker strands in certain types of raw silk. the irregular thickness of the threads contribute to the beauty of the fabric.

god, please take my beautiful fear that i won’t have enough energy. take my glittering procrastination. take the jewel of my forgetfulness. i hold them up to your light and put them at your feet, a gift to you.

superior scribblers

i want to thank janet riehl for passing on the superior scribbler award to me.  it had been given to her by matilda butler and kendra bonnett who have a blog that supports women writing their memoirs.

this is a great way to introduce you to some blogs that i haven’t mentioned much, or maybe not at all.  so these are the people i’m passing the award on to.

holly lisle sure needs no award; she’s one of the internet’s grande dames of the writing life, and it feels a little funny for a little blogger like me to be giving her an award.  but nevermind.  this novel writer (i think she mostly does science fiction) has a humungous blog.  over 40 entries about her plot clinic alone!  she is one superior scribbler.

“building Rapport: advocating plain language, clear design, sensitivity to audience concerns, and civility” – that’s the plain language blog.  in this post, the writer announces that they didn’t make the top 10 language blogs for 2009, so at least they get an award from me.  that post also leads to the winners of the 2009 language oscar: if you like words, go and have a look!

microwriting has always fascinated me.  six-word storieshaikuhaibun.  and why do you think i’m on twitter?  this blog takes people’s stories and turns them into 100-word tales.

then there is madeline, one of my oldest blogging friends.  nobody documents dialogue the way she does on her site, where she takes you on the daily travels and travails of the mother of two lovely autistic children.  viz:

i watch his performance, robotic dancing and in time until he collapses in a sweaty heap, “sighhhhhh!
“you are such a fun guy.”
“wot did you be callin me?”
“fun guy?”
“ooo…..i thought you be said fungi, nevermind, i am liking fungi betterer.”

and finally, there is isms and ologies, “a fiction blog attempting to personify as many beliefs and studies as are entertaining.” i’m looking forward to a post on trophyism (perhaps with this as a background?)

now apparently there are Rules for this trophy.  i’m not a big fan of Rules but since this thing was passed on to me it would be impolite not to post those Rules.  here they are.  hopefully you are of a more mature character than i and will treat all the “musts” with magnamity.

here are the rules for passing on the superior scribbler award.
1. each superior scribbler must in turn pass the award on to 5 most-deserving blogging friends.
2. each superior scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the award.
3. each superior scribbler must display the award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award.
4. each blogger who wins the superior scribbler award must visit this post and add his/her name to the mr. linky list. that way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor!
5. each superior scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

arrest them! no, not the drunk guys

i’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year, this time determined to do all i can to make it to the 50,000 word count. so my blog posts may be sporadic, or short and sweet, or both. like this one. only it’s not sweet.

at a walmart in lethbridge, told by a friend:

a drunk native fellow ahead of me was buying 10 bottles of alcohol-containing hair treatment. i asked for the manager and asked him whether he was going to let that sale go through. he said there was nothing they could do. i checked the shelves and saw that this product was vastly overstocked compared to the non-ethanol products. i called the cops. they just took my name and address.

the week before a bunch of guys had been sitting on the bench in front of walmart drinking hair product. walmart restocks the shelves according to the rate of product sales.

they should be arrested.

not the native guys.